God Deserves our Worship – Part 2

Ezra 3:1-13

To recap:

We worship God because he is the first and best of beings and so deserves our worship. We worship God because he has delivered us from slavery to sin and commands us to worship him exclusively. We worship God because we love him and want to please him. Because of who God is and what he has done, he deserves our worship. So if worship is the what, the next question is how? How is it that we should properly worship this God who deserves all the glory we can give to him? What is required in order that we may truly glorify God and worship him as he deserves to be worshiped? Let us learn from our brothers and sisters from an earlier time and how they worshiped the God who had delivered them from captivity.

1. corporately v.1, 11, 13

2. centrally v.1

3. in unity v.1, 9

4. purposefully vv.2-3

people, then priests, gathered at the temple for a purpose

worship, then work

acknowledged the truth expressed by Solomon in Psa. 127:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.”

a right relationship with God and then worship of God must come before doing the work of God

sacrifice a non-negotiable essential of worship

offering animals OT requirement in anticipation/foreshadowing of Calvary

offering ourselves as living sacrifices expected as NT response to Calvary

proclaiming the sacrifice of Christ – his death and resurrection – by preaching and through the ordinances necessary elements of NT worship

either way, it is the cross and work of Christ that receives the focus

declaring the truth of Christ’s sacrifice, of the Gospel, by word and action a primary purpose to be accomplished in worship

it is at the cross where God’s justice met God’s mercy – sin was conquered and sinners redeemed and reconciled to God

purposeful worship required preparation

bringing of the sacrifices, ceremonial cleanliness

priests didn’t have to ask why everyone was there at the temple area – it was abundantly obvious from their attitude, what they brought with them

5. regularly vv.4-6

not just a one-shot deal to get things going

people came with the purpose of beginning regular worship

both sacrifice at the temple and stated feasts observed at home

Feast of Tabernacles v.4

the appointed feasts v.5

daily burnt offerings v.4

freewill offerings v.5

daily, weekly, monthly sacrifices, annual feasts

musical conductor – gives at least a few beats to set the rhythm, keeps everyone at tempo and together

religious rituals provided same for Israel – establishing rhythm of life, keeping them together as a society by focusing attention outside themselves; regular reminders of their place as people of God

required ongoing commitment

priests needed to be supplied with means for their own existence

if they were to be carrying on the work of ministry sacrifice and construction, they couldn’t be laboring for their own support

animals, wood, water, oil, grain all needed to be supplied to maintain regular sacrifices

all happening under less than ideal conditions – city not rebuilt yet; foreign enemies lurking close by – see verse 3

6. as regulated v.4, 10

three phrases used to describe how they implemented elements of worship

as it is written v.4a

required by ordinance v.4b

according to the ordinance v.10

no attempts made to

innovate

bring back new ideas from Babylon

include practices from idol-worship as conducted by Babylonians and Persians

follow the new Zoroastrian religion present in Babylon (modern Iran) and which still survives today

take short-cuts

excuses based on circumstances

no city

no temple

few supplies

many enemies

committed to doing worship God’s way

following the regulations he had established and recorded in his Word

in their view the God’s written word had same weight of authority as spoken word

power to command and govern

7. spiritedly vv.10-13

none of it done with a grudging attitude

done with enthusiasm and spirit

with trumpets (silver clarions, not rams’ horns) and cymbals v.10

antiphonal singing – “sang responsively” v.11

The Lord is good

His mercy endures forever

perhaps Psalm 136 where all 26 lines end in “His mercy endures forever” – one course of priests singing the first phrase, the other course responding antiphonally

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever;

“shouted with a great shout” v.11, 13

“wept with a loud voice” v.12

“shouted aloud for joy” v.12

“heard afar off” v.13

acknowledgment of God’s goodness and mercy v.11

joyful response to seeing the work of God in building his church move forward

“foundation of the house was laid” v.11, 12

weeping because the work appeared inferior to what God had done previously

those “who had seen the first temple wept”

offered praise and thanksgiving

both because of who God is and because of what God had done

The BIG goal? – “that sinners be converted and Thy name glorified”! That through our worship and the spiritual vigor it gives to us as we glorify God and glory in him, sinners would come to salvation and be added to the body of believers, joining their voices with ours in praise of God who supremely deserves our worship.

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